The Elders and Messengers of the Indian Creek Predestinarian Baptist Association of Ohio, in session with the Caesar Creek Church, 1898, unto the several churches composing her body, and to all of like precious faith with us, sendeth love and greeting:
Beloved Brethren: For a few words of comfort wherewith to address you at this time will take as a foundation the words of the angel to Joseph: “And thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” For a short address unto the several churches of this association we call your attention to the above language spoken by the angel who was sent from God to announce the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was long ere this period of time spoken of the prophet, which was given him by the gift of prophecy, saying, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6. Jesus Himself declared that “I and My Father are one.” Here is a mystery that the wisdom of this world cannot search out, how that wisdom and mercy stands united with justice. “It was Justice that cried, smite the Shepherd, the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord.” – Zech. 13:7.
Jesus, the mighty one of God, came as the sent of God to do His Father’s will. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). “And thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. It is generally admitted that His people in one important sense are sinners. To deny this would be equivalent to denying the bodily resurrection of the saints. It is evident from the reading of the Scriptures that His people, the saints of God, are twofold in their natures; that they are children of two distinct births: one of flesh from Adam, and the other Spirit from God. But to show how these two natures become united in one character is that which causes so much confusion, jars and schisms among us. We admit that in one sense that they are eternal. Not “eternal children,” but had an eternal seed existence in Christ before time began. We cannot call the mighty oak a “tree” until the acorn from which it grew came in contact with the earth, whence grew the “oak.” Yet the very germ of the oak was in the acorn. This people was also the foreknown of God, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. (Ephesians 1:5). They were in seed substance in Him that early.
The question that now arises, Where does the sinnership come in? It is not in their heavenly standing, but in their Adamic; hence it is written that they were “by nature the children of wrath even as others.” We find that they were held under the Adamic law, as well as under the Mosiacal law. The Apostle Paul addresses these characters at Rome, calling them the saints which are in Rome as once being enemies to God by wicked works, but now reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Romans 5:8). We cannot conceive for one moment that the Apostle had reference to the heavenly strain, but to their relation in Adam. Hence, when Jesus made His appearance into this world He was found “in fashion as a man.” He was called the “seed of David according to the flesh.” “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, (Hebrew 2:17). “He took not on Him the nature of angels but the seed of Abraham,” therefore He came under the law to save and redeem them that were under the law, being made a curse for them; consequently the man that would deny that Jesus was one with His people in every sense of the word, and clothed with their flesh, their sins and iniquities laid or imputed to Him, and His righteousness in fulfilling of the law imputed to them, must deny that Jesus was made flesh. And when Jesus was put to death in the flesh, for it was only in the flesh that He died, how did the sinner, yet a thousand years unborn, “die with Him,” but because “the twain were one flesh.” (II Cor.5:14).
But some will say that the saints are only one in a spiritual sense. But we will say that Christ as the mighty God never died. It was His humanity that died. It was His humanity that rose from the grave; hence His people rose with Him, because He satisfied the demands of the law laid on humanity. But as the death and resurrection of Jesus took place nearly two thousand years ago, when this generation was unborn, but in God’s own time would be brought forth, conceived in sin and shapened in iniquity, as the sons and daughters of Adam, they were then just as much the heirs of promise as when the promise was made. In their experience they were held under the law, not yet knowing that Jesus had satisfied the demands of the law for them.
But as our fathers preached twenty years ago, (and even some that have now gone out from us,) holding to the language of the Apostle, “And you hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and in sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” we preach that this people that were given to Christ in the covenant of redemption are a component part of the Church of God, when here in time are brought experimentally under the law into Gospel liberty to know and realize how that it was needful for Jesus to die for their sins. This, however, does not take place with them until the God of heaven quickens them into life, they being dead in trespasses and in sins. Then continues the Apostle: “But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love where with He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” The quickening here spoken of took place when Jesus was raised from the grave, being the “first born from the dead,” and the predestined heirs of God were quickened together with Him, being flesh of His flesh and bone of His bones. (Ephesians 5:30). This can only result from a union of Christ with His people in the flesh. “For the love of Christ constraineth us because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves. But unto Him which died for them and rose again.” (II Cor. 5:14-15.) The Apostle Jude could say concerning this people, “To them which are sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Christ Jesus and called;” called with an “holy calling not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Again, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
For us to say that the “us who are saved and called” does not embrace the sinner quickened into life and is made to know and realize that he is a sinner, the very chief of sinners, to us is to deny that the sinner is the subject of God’s saving power. To say, as our enemies say of us, that Christ has done nothing for the sinner man, is to deny the glorious redemption of our bodies. And because of the union between Christ and His people, given Him in the covenant of redemption is where we behold the justice of God in smiting the Shepherd for the transgression of the sheep.
We close, brethren, by saying that the child Jesus born in Bethlehem and cradled in a manger is our only hope of life and salvation here in time and our eternal deliverance from sin and sorrow into that land of rest prepared for the people of God. We are born to die. Our trials and sorrows are all numbered. Jesus was born to die. The means and end was all arranged in the mind of the eternal Jehovah. It was to be accomplished by wicked hands, which is the “sword of the Lord” (Psalm 17:13.) And Peter was very bold when he said to the Pharisees: “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by wicked hands have crucified and slain whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.” The poet has answered the question of the necessity of His death and resurrection better and in fewer words than we can employ when he says:
“Was it for crimes that I had done,
He groaned upon the tree;
Amazing pity, grace unknown,
And love beyond degree.
Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut His glories in,
When Christ the mighty Maker died
For man the creature’s sin.
But drops of blood can ne’er repay,
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee,
‘Tis all that I can do.”
And, “Now to the God of all peace, that brought again that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Finally brethren, farewell.
L. Bavis, Moderator.
B. Martin, Clerk.